A kid skateboards near the bathrooms at Kit Carson Park in Escondido on April 20, 2023.
A kid skateboards near the bathrooms at Kit Carson Park in Escondido on April 20, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

After 35 years, Escondido’s beloved Tiny Tots program is permanently shutting down.

The city of Escondido decided in June to end the popular preschool program, leaving families who depended on it with fewer options for their children.

The program, which is city-run and staffed, is widely praised by parents for its high quality preschool classes at an affordable price. Parents said its foremost value is a gentle transition into public school.

But city leaders said the program was no longer sustainable because of Escondido’s structural budget deficit and the program’s declining enrollment, largely due to competing programs. One of those is Transitional Kindergarten (TK),  which is free schooling for 4-year-olds.

Read the full story about the program and ongoing destruction of child care options.

Related: San Diego County Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas have a new proposal that aims to increase the number of childcare providers in the region and provide support to existing providers. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the proposal later today.

The Latest on Escondido’s Homeless Shelter 

Interfaith Community Services will move homeless residents out of Escondido’s only homeless shelter and into another facility across the street following the city’s decision to pull funds from the program. The Union-Tribune broke the news of shelter residents’ upcoming move into the nonprofit’s recuperative care facility for unhoused people with health challenges.

Interfaith CEO Greg Anglea told Voice of San Diego the soon-to-be relocated Haven House shelter will continue welcoming new residents for now but that intakes have recently been throttled by staffing shortages. Anglea said the move represents a temporary solution that allows Interfaith to address that challenge by pooling its workers in one facility. He expects his nonprofit will need to reduce the number of shelter beds in six to 12 months – and move away from the congregate shelter model in the existing shelter.

Anglea said that doesn’t mean demand for the existing 49 beds has decreased.

“The need has actually increased,” Anglea said.

Some background: Our Tigist Layne reported last month that the Escondido City Council pulled funding over concerns that the shelter is serving too many people who aren’t from Escondido. The city has contributed about $40,000 to $70,000 annually in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to Haven House since 2013. 

This year, city officials were expected to allocate $50,000 to Interfaith’s shelter, but instead diverted the funds to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking. Anglea said city officials expressed concerns to him about who the shelter was serving and indicated to him that was the primary reason for the funding change.

Just in: The Vista City Council, which helps fund Interfaith’s shelter via a North County shelter network, is set to have an emergency discussion about its shelter program tonight at the mayor’s request. Another Vista official told the U-T that he wanted “more transparency” from Interfaith. 

Meanwhile, in Oceanside: The Brother Benno Foundation says taking on more security costs could put them out of business, KPBS reported. The nonprofit, which provides food and resources to homeless and low-income residents, has had tension with neighboring businesses for years. Business owners say Brother Benno’s clients are causing issues for them and the community. Following the city’s recommendation, Brother Benno’s started paying a private security firm to keep an eye on the area but the nonprofit’s leaders say they won’t be able to afford that for much longer.

Why the U.S. Government May Owe Oceanside Some Sand

Waves crash against the rocks during hid tide in Oceanside on Sept. 5, 2023.
Waves crash against the rocks during hid tide in Oceanside on Sept. 5, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Oceanside is losing its beaches and Camp Pendleton is partly to blame.

Our MacKenzie Elmer recently reported that Oceanside is about to spend $2.6 million of its own money to replenish the sand on its deteriorating beaches. But if it wasn’t for the construction of the Camp Pendleton military base, Oceanside, and probably other coastal cities in the County, would have significantly more sand on its beaches.

There’s a lot of sand, at least 3 million cubic yards, currently sitting behind one of Camp Pendleton’s structures. Unfortunately for Oceanside, efforts to find a way to get that sand out have been unsuccessful.

Now, cities like Encinitas and Solana Beach, and possibly Oceanside, are turning to another, more time-consuming option. It involves a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and it could take about 50 years to complete.

Read the full story here.

In Other News

  • The Union-Tribune reports that the city’s annual pension bill is expected to rise by more than $20 million a year following a new set of assumptions and a Friday vote by the city’s pension board.
  • The median price of a single-family home in the county exceeded $1 million last month, according to new data from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors and shared with City News Service.
  • The Union-Tribune reports that the Metropolitan Transit System board will vote Thursday on whether to increase security staffing following two fatal attacks on trolley platforms.
  • NBC 7 reported on the city’s three design proposals for the Ocean Beach Pier. 

The Morning Report was written by Tigist Layne and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Lisa Halverstadt and Scott Lewis.

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